Public-safety answering points (PSAPs) in Fairfax County, Va., are scheduled to migrate by the end of the year to an Airbus DS Communications VESTA call-handling solution that complies with next-generation-911 (NG911) standards and is designed to promote efficiencies across all five PSAP locations.

Upgrading the call-handling solution is part of Fairfax County’s NG911 contract with system integrator General Dynamics Information Technology. The VESTA solution will be deployed at the Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC)—the largest PSAP in Virginia—its geo-redundant backup facility and three police dispatch centers located in the county, according to Steve McMurrer, 9-1-1 System Administrator for Fairfax County.

“We dispatch fire and EMS for everybody,” McMurrer said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “But, if they just need a police officer—wherever it happens to be [in Fairfax County]—we would transfer the call over to them, and there are three of those locations.

“They are currently on separate, standalone VESTA systems, so we will be integrating them into sort of a hub-and-spoke design, so all five locations will be tied into one system … It will save money and make things a little bit more coordinated.”

Some expected benefits from the integrated system are items related to maintenance, service and logistics, because technicians working at the various PSAP locations will not have to maintain inventory and conduct training on separate systems, McMurrer said. Logging and recording systems—as well as associated statistics—also will be consolidated, he said.

There also will be operational benefits for telecommunicators, McMurrer said.

“We’re putting mapped ALI into this solution, whereas before we were just reliant on the basic ALI screen,” he said.

In addition, the new call-handling solution will make it easier for telecommunicators to handle text-to-911 calls within the 911 system, instead of the current practice of servicing emergency texts via a web-browser application, McMurrer said.

“There’s no direct connection between the web browser and, for example, the CAD [computer-aided dispatch] system,” McMurrer said. “So, if you have location and address in the web browser—in today’s environment—you have to type it into the CAD system.

“When it’s integrated in the newer application, we’ll be able to just hit a button, and it will transfer the location, much like it would transfer an ANI/ALI record into the CAD system.